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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2019

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UMW students and faculty discuss John Boehner’s resignation

UMW students and faculty discuss John Boehner’s resignation


Students and faculty are discussing the future of the Republican’s influence in the House of Representatives following Speaker of the House John Boehner’s announcement, on Sept. 25, that he would be resigning his position in Congress at the end of October.

According to the announcement, which took place first in a meeting with Republican leaders, then at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Boehner originally planned to announce his resignation mid-November.

Although, after Pope Francis’ speech in front of Congress the day before, Sept. 24, and mounting pressure from conservative members from the House of Representatives to sponsor the provision to defund Planned Parenthood, Boehner chose to make his resignation earlier, seeing possible signs of another government shutdown.

For we remember in 2013, the government closed for 16 days due to opposition with the Affordable Care Act. Because there are conservative members of the House who believe that Boehner was too willing to compromise with liberal members rather than hold to his parties beliefs, his departure could lessen the possibility of another shutdown.

However, according to political science professor Stephen Farnsworth, the government shutdown is still an imminent possibility, and could occur as close as December.

This is due in part to members of the House who have a greater incentive to hold their own beliefs rather than compromise with other members, according to Farnsworth.

“A good number of Congressmen come from districts where they are well received by the district’s members. Their beliefs have allowed them to be elected into office, and they have little to lose by resisting compromise to important issues requested by liberal members, even with the possibility of government shutdown,” said Fransworth.

Boehner’s likely successor for Speaker of the House is Kevin McCarthy, congressman and majority leader from the state of California. McCarthy announced his intention to run for House speaker on Tuesday and so far has run unopposed.

“The Boehner situation speaks to ongoing identity crisis of the Republican Party,” Farnsworth said.

His replacement, however, may face many of the same challenges that he has experienced in getting approval from both conservative and liberal members of the House and government “Being Speaker of this fractious Republican [House] is impossible,” Farnsworth said. “The next Speaker will probably do just as bad, or even worse, bridging the pretty significant differences among the Republicans in the House.”

The issues taking place among the Republican members of the House of Delegates are separate from the GOP candidates who are currently running for President, who Farnsworth believes have issues of their own that they are working through.

“Republican debates so far, especially, have not been productive for Republicans hoping to take back the White House in 2016,” Farnsworth said.

Moving forward, junior political science major Silder Lopez believes both sides of the House should focus on compromise.

“[They need] to understand, to have a common goal to benefit the nation,” Lopez said.

Lopez believes that change should take place among presidential candidates as well, focusing more on the issues that affect the country rather than attacking other candidates. According to Lopez, it bothers him when candidates use their influence to disparage another candidate rather than address important issues.

Senior historic preservation major Melissa Parent is less optimistic about the House’s ability to get along.

“They’re more interested in being right than helping people,” Parent said.

For her, it is important for students to become involved and know for themselves what the best course of action in bringing change to the U.S.

“The less you know, the less you’ll do to make things better,” Parent said.